A BOY of 12 is to face a police reprimand after he shot a girl with a fake machine gun, leaving her with bruising.

Officers say the girl, also aged 12, was fortunate to get away with such a slight injury after being hit by a pellet from the large plastic imitation MP5 machine gun, which was bought in France while the boy's family were on holiday.

Police were called by the girl's parents to an estate in Rudloe after the incident on May 30. It is alleged the boy and girl had a dispute in the street after which he went home, fetched the gun and returned to shoot her in the leg.

He also said to have caused damage to a caravan in the area using the same gun.

PC Peter Clarke of Corsham Police said the imitation weapon, which is similar to those carried by trained gun police, fires plastic pellets that can cause serious injuries or even death.

He said: "The gun could have blinded or killed the girl. If a person was hit full on with this gun they could easily be killed.

"It is surprising the girl got away with just bruising."

Police have repeatedly warned that anyone carrying a replica or toy gun is putting themselves in danger. It could be mistaken for a real weapon leading to the intervention of armed police who might open fire if they felt the risk was genuine.

PC Clarke said: "It is a very serious issue using fake firearms. This one could have been used to hold up a busy post office, nobody would know it isn't real."

Another officer said: "This gun is not a toy, it is a replica gun and looks exactly like what they are using over in Afghanistan now."

The police have confiscated the gun and officers will be meeting the boy and his parents soon to discuss the incident.